The best way to bathe
The key role of moisture
One of the best ways to help your child’s eczema is to maintain the skin’s moisture. In eczema, the child’s skin easily dries out and can form microscopic cracks that provide an entry for bacteria. Much of the redness and itching in eczema is the child’s immune system reacting against the bacteria.
So….we want to start at the beginning to prevent the entry of bacteria by keeping the child’s skin moist.
Children with eczema often lack some of the normal skin oils which keep the moisture in the skin. Any steps we can take to preserve their skin oils will reduce our need to apply moisturizers to return moisture to their skin.
Many people think that soap and water are good for a child’s skin….but not for kids with eczema. When sudsy water from soap or shampoo comes into contact with the child’s skin, it dissolves and carries away the very oils the child needs to maintain moisture.
So…. as a parent what can you do to bathe smart?
The first step is to minimize use of soap during the bath. If the child is actually dirty, then you will need to use soap but use it judiciously and just on the dirty areas. For example, if there is soil from the diaper on the skin, then use a washcloth with soap, but only on the dirty area.
Your child can bathe every day in a plain water bath as often or as long as you wish. Water alone does not worsen eczema, but the combination of soap and water is the culprit.
When shampooing your child’s hair, try to confine the shampoo to the scalp. Use a bathtub spray hose to rinse the suds off the scalp so that it does not touch the rest of the child’s skin. It can be helpful to tilt the child forward or backwards and use the spray hose to rinse the suds right into the bath tub. Then before taking the child from the tub, lift the child, and rinse off the legs that were standing in the bath water.
Here are some visual reminders to minimize use of soap, control shampoo to keep off the body, and lastly to have a good time in a plain water bath.